Microsoft Surface Laptop

Education is setting agendas at Microsoft – new products for schools at special event in London

A slew of recent product announcements from Microsoft in the US underlines the intensity of competition in the schools technology market and the company's success in making education a core business, building on what it learns from its partnership with its global teacher and schools communities. Next week (June 13) its UK education department stages a special "Edtech 20/20" event in London as part of London Tech Week.

The announcements includes a new 'light' version of Windows 10 — Windows 10 S. It's an operating system that is easier to manage and keep secure, supported by key management features, including Microsoft 'Intune for Education', with 'Teams' for collaboration. There's also an impressive new Surface Laptop at the vanguard of a range of affordable and light new student laptops for 10 S (from below £200), new features for its popular Minecraft Education Edition program and exciting new possibilities for augmented and mixed reality.

GDST Norfolk team

'Want diversity and girl leaders in tech?' Just give them the opportunity, says Tony Parkin

A key challenge facing the digital technology sector is the lack of diversity in the sector’s workforce. Typically only around 12 per cent of technology staffing is female, for example.

A number of theories have been put forward about why this might be, with proposals to help address the issue. One is to encourage female students to take on digital leadership, and the GDST Digital Leaders Conference 2017 showed just how effective this strategy can be.

Agastya sparrow site

Proud maverick Tony Parkin takes flight to southern India to meet a like-minded group of educators

It probably won’t come as much of a surprise to those who know me, but having once been labelled a maverick by a disapproving senior leadership team, I have worn that badge with pride ever since.

So imagine my delight when the status was officially confirmed by an invitation to attend a Maverick Teachers Global Summit. And, even better, it was to be held in India, a country I had long wished to visit, and the event was to be led by Gavin Dykes, who I have known for many years and with whom I have worked on Education Fast Forward. But then the facilitator word was used!

Digital Schoolhouse eSports in action

John Galloway flexed his Playstation thumbs with students at the recent Digital Schoolhouse event

To become a professional eSports player requires hours of dedication, quick reactions, nimble fingers, and, no doubt, understanding parents prepared to accept that it really is a job and you can make a career of it, one of the reasons for the eSports tournament run by Digital Schoolhouse at London's high-tech computer games showcase, the GFinity Arena in Fulham.

Four teams of three players from schools across the UK battled it out in a best-of-three-games knockout competition playing Rocket League, a game like a cross between Robot Wars and soccer, with on-screen buggies trying to direct a ball towards their opponent’s goal.

Agastya participants

Gavin Dykes on how a London meeting about education for ‘real world’ problems sparked the real thing

The meeting’s challenge was to inspire action to solve ‘real world problems’: “How can we support greater courage and innovation among teachers, and encourage us all to open our eyes to different challenges across the world?”

The responses came quickly: “Would focusing on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals help?” “Yes, but not goal 4, on education! Education should address ALL the goals.” And they had a great outcome: the Maverick Teachers Global Summit 2016 in India.